Booking boy knew rail signaller

Bill Marchant at work. (Barry Cox collection)

Bill Marchant at work. (Barry Cox collection)

Pilot trapped 300ft up Portsmouth mast

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Last week I mentioned the mechanical signal box that was located outside Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.

Mick Dore dropped me a line to say that in 1966 he left St Luke’s School and began a career on the railway as a booking boy in the same signal box. A booking boy is what it says: every train that passed was logged in the signalman’s register.

Unfortunately for Mike when the box closed the new one did not need booking boys and he was despatched to Eastleigh where mechanical boxes were still used.

Mike could not get used to the commuting at all hours of the day and night so he resigned.

He tells me the man in the photo was Bill Marchant. His colleagues were Ernie Scott, who lived in the cottages at Portcreek Junction, and Cyril Bowers who lived at Rowlands Castle.

Does anyone remember them?

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